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Gratia sumendæ non erat ulla Rosæ.
Ovid. Fasi. v. 344.
Printed by A. J. Valpy, Took's Court, Chancery Lane ;
The four last Acts of the Third Part of King HENRY VI. furnished the plan of this dramatic piece. That the reader may have an idea of the difficulty of forming a Tragedy, neither offensive to delicacy, nor repugnant to the principles of modern taste, from these materials, he is requested to peruse the original, before he opens the following sheets.
The history of the war of the Roses is clouded with an uncertainty, which neither the diligence of research, nor the sagacity of judgment, have been able to remove. In these circumstances of doubt, it was found expedient to retain the principal features of the Poet, who in his Historical plays generally founds the events, which he describes, upon
the Chronicles of the times. serve as far us possible the unity of place, the scene is confined to England, and the embassy of the Earl of Warwick to France is not, as in the original, the subject of a scene in each country. The duration of the time is likewise contracted. The play opens after the battle of Wakefield; and some events of inferior importance, which are productive of anachronisms, are
here omitted. On the same principles of unity, the temporary defection of the Duke of Clarence, however supported by respectable authorities, has been totally suppressed.
The Editor has not scrupled to take the liberty of introducing into this performance a few appropriate passages from the first and Second Parts of Henry VI. and even from RICHARD II, plays, which are not in possession of the stage. Of this liberty, however, he has made a more modest use than Cibber in his RICHARD III.
The religious and patriotic passages, which are occasionally introduced, were not merely inserted with the view of engaging the applause of audiences, whose candor gave a generous encouragement to an exercise, intended only to instruct the performers in the principles of chaste action, and correct speaking. They are, it is hoped, strictly characteristical ; and the Editor seized with pleasure the opportunity of instilling in the minds of his pupils sentiments calculated to inspire them with FERVENT DEVOTION TO THEIR GOD, DISINTERESTED LOYALTY TO THEIR KING, AND ACTIVE
LOVE OF THEIR COUNTRY.
*** Of the excellent Institution, for the support of which this Play was represented, some account would be given, had not the Poet-Laureat, whose benevolence is equal to his genius, so admirably described the nature and object of it in the Epilogue.
You, who with ear entranc'd and silent tongue